The reimagining of retro-inspired side-scrolling titles has become all the rage in recent years. With titles like Shovel Knight and Hollow Knight doing very well, it seems as this genre is coming back bigger than ever. Or people just really like knights, you never know! Whichever option you choose to accept, it is clear that everyone is trying to grab a piece of the pie. An amazing thought, but are we being treated with unique experiences or horrible rehashes that simply follow the next fad?
Daggerhood is a side-scrolling platformer developed by Woblyware and published by Ratalaika Games S.L. Our story begins with Victor S. Daggerhood, a skilled thief on the top of the world. With quick reflexes and a keen eye for treasure, our hero has luckily avoided capture every single time. However, you can’t stay on top forever and unfortunately for our friend Victor, today is the day. Captured by the King and banished to the caverns, Daggerhood must formulate a plan to escape and fulfill one final caper to achieve revenge on the men that put him here. With his special dagger in hand and no other options, you must aid our hero in this dastardly journey that is going to get tremendously worse from here. Will you be able to pull off the great heist of Daggerhood’s life or will we all stay trapped in this dark cavern of unexpected horrors?
The mechanics of Daggerhood are simple on the surface but culminate into an in-depth platformer with various collect-a-thon traits. Victor S. Daggerhood starts his adventure with limited skills, he can move, jump, and teleport with his fancy dagger. Not much to start, which in-turn requires some creative endeavors, but along his journey he will encounter various tools that expand his capabilities. Early on, we will encounter a hammer with the sole purpose of breaking blocks that are inaccessible without. However, it is not as simple as grabbing this object and moving forward breaking blocks at your own will. The pick-up has a timer and you must break what is needed before it disappears, fail to do so and you must backtrack, grab the item again and rush to the desired location. Luckily for us, the barricades do not reappear allowing a more casual approach to the minor puzzle solving.
One thing this title does extremely well is pack in the content. We are presented with a massive 100 stages across five worlds, all ending with a sweet boss fight to tie everything together. Each stage has a variety of collectibles that amass into a three-star rating system. Racing against the clock and collecting everything under the sun is the name of the game if you hope to snag those coveted three stars. Gold, gems, and other treasure are the main object that we desire, but we are also graced with a whimsical fairy hidden somewhere in each stage. Now, these treasures are not too hard, but the fairy will take some patience and puzzle-solving to achieve as each disappears after a set time. I enjoyed accumulating what I could find, but unfortunately, I could not find a reason to go out of my way to get everything unless I wanted to get all the stars. The treasures weren’t used to buy upgrades nor did the fairies do anything for you. They were placed in there simply to be collected for collection's sake. This was quite disappointing and made it feel mundane and useless after a few stages. The best part comes when you reach the final level and get to tackle the amazing bosses. My favorite comes from the ginormous six-legged creature with a gaping mouth. The battle is similar to an endless runner as you must avoid obstacles and attacks to reach the end to beat the boss. I think fights like this are rarely done in games nowadays and it provides a sense of scale that you are too small to fight your foe at that particular moment.
The visual aesthetics like backgrounds and graphics are rather generic and similar to other retro-inspired titles. It looks good and can provide a nostalgia trip for those who grew up with style. However, with the increase in games with these aesthetics, the style blends together game from game and teams must find other ways to surpass the competition. I introduce Daggerhood’s level design that pushes this title to the next level. While early one, the stages seem bland with a few jumps and a spike trap here and there, they slowly evolve into twist and turns of amazement. Victor’s special dagger that allows him to teleport provides an interesting aspect that allows narrow corridors and walls of spikes to become more common. Mix this with gravity inversion and other level hazards, each level gets increasingly difficult on a larger scale.
In the end, Daggerhood is a decent platformer that has a lot of content, even if some gets a bit repetitive. The game is priced at $5 USD, which I feel is a great price for everyone to try out. From the nostalgic graphics to the platforming that gets more elaborate as you progress throughout the worlds, there is something for everyone. So, grab your trusty dagger and practice your jumping, we have one final heist to pull off!
*Note: A copy of this game was provided for the purpose of the review.
Final Score: 7/10
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